Radical reds stockpiling arms for fight if election delayed: Radical red-shirt militant groups have been stockpiling arms in Bangkok and surrounding areas for months to retaliate against a coup or anyone who forces a postponement in the February election, said a Bangkok Post report on Thursday.
The report said the source of this information is independent red-shirt militants and former supporters of the ruling Pheu Thai Party from the lower Northeast region of Thailand.
“This is not to hit the protesters but to retaliate against a coup and anyone who forces the public and government agencies such as the Election Commission [EC] and the judiciary to postpone the election,” a red-shirt source in Ubon Ratchathani was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post report.
“There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the red-shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use,” said the source.
He also said the underground red-shirt wings were beyond the control or command of any single person.
He said Thaksin Shinawatra was against arms stockpiling for fear of being unable to control the militant groups and their actions.
Through sources in the North and Northeast, the red-shirts have access to heavy arms, he said.
Pichit Likitkijsomboon, economics associate professor at Thammasat University and a red-shirt supporter, admitted there were conflicts within the red-shirt movement and a number of splinter groups, opportunists and elements that cannot be controlled, said the Bangkok Post report.
He noted that the fear of violence should not be considered only from the protesters’ perspective.
People fear if the election is not postponed there will be a civil war, but there will also be anger if there is no election on Feb 2. The underground groups will come out to chart their own course, he said.
If lawlessness and violence prevail, such a fatal and insecure situation would benefit no one, said the professor.
Mr. Pichit was also quoted in the report as saying, “The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) needs to stop pretending to be a white-shirted group calling for the election while the anti-government protesters are dragging the country down to hell”.
He also noted that the morality of the pro-Thaksin movement has been affected since the late November clash around Ramkhamhaeng University between individual red-shirt members and university students.